Saturday 29 August 2015

In the mood for bags

Don't know about you, but I find that bags are extraordinarily difficult to choose. I have been looking around for a simple tote bag for some time and let me tell you there are hundreds of free patterns on the would think that I would find one relatively quickly. So far I narrowed it down to about three bags. Lucky for me I am not that skilled in sewing hence have to look for those that are more simple to construct.

There is a lovely Market Tote Tutorial over at Bijou Lovely, also another one at the Pellon website by Amy Smart

Then I found a pattern on Craftsy that I really liked, the 'Quilted Tote Bag' by RebeccaMaeDesigns.
Quilted Tote Bag Sewing Pattern  Victoria by RebeccaMaeDesigns, $8.00: Patterns Victoria, Bag Sewing Patterns, Bags Sewing Patterns
RebeccaMaeDesigns: Quilted Tote Bag

So I decided that I needed some special fabric for that...

Could not find anything in my stash...actually finding that my taste in fabric is somewhat changing, influenced by the many bright fabrics that are around. My fabric stash carries mainly darker, more muted colours, so off it was to the fabric store. Here are the supplies that I purchased:

Gorgeous bag fabric
Gorgeous mix of fabrics...all on special, of course, and also bought some hardware. The bag has a magnetic closure and also a zippered pocket. This will be very interesting.
Also had a look at some duck cloth the other day and purchased some modern Cloud9 fabric (they had some great designs!) and went ahead and whipped up the Twenty Minutes Tote bag by The Purl Bee for my daughter. She has been running around with this awful canvas bag, so I wanted to quickly trial this bag. 
The Twenty Minute Tote by The Purl Bee
This took me about an hour and a half and was great fun to put together. The bag has no lining andI spent most of my time overlocking the exposed seams...the pattern uses a zigzag stitch but I thought I may as well use what I have on the machine...this worked really well! Also using the Stop/Start function on the machine (Pfaff 4.2) more and more...just pressing a button and then have the machine go at a constant speed, allows you to fully concentrate on keeping the line of sewing nice and straight. Planning to do another one or two of these (of course I bought more of this duck cloth) and making the bag a little bit bigger...find it very hard to judge what size of a bag I need/want. Having done it, I am more able to judge how much bigger I do want it in width and length.

No wonder I am not getting any quilts done...I continually get side tracked. For some reason, this year has been particularly bad for this.


Tuesday 25 August 2015

Storage Solutions

Had to clean up the other day as I was getting overwhelmed/confused with all those WIPs lying around. Have been on the lookout for some time for suitable containers and finally came across some  at the local Kmart

Just the right size, approx. 12 1/2 x12 1/2 inches and deep enough to hold a stack of completed units
Bought a few of them...
Each WIP nicely packed I can just grab the WIP I feel in the mood for...

Of course, an alternative idea would be not to start that many new projects at once!


Friday 21 August 2015

August 2015 FMQ Challenge

Finished with a week to spare!

This month' expert was Angela Walters and I chose two options. For the front of the pillow I used some of the concepts discussed in her Craftsy class 'Machine Quilting: Small Changes, Big Variety'.
I concentrated on lesson 2 of the class  exploring the swirl in some detail...
This turned out quite striking...I love stitching with light thread on a dark background. Somehow my stitches turn out heaps better that way. If you want to read about the process of getting this done, please see my Post 'Progress on Pillow' below. I used 50wt Aurifil thread (#2000-Light Sandstone) with a 70/10 Sharp needle for the quilting.

The back of the pillow falls into Option 2...I could say that I chose this, however I more or less stumbled into this. Looking at the Angela Walter's book 'Shape by Shape', I remembered that apple core shape that I acquired doing one of Kim Bradley's classes some years ago. Using this, I then filled the alternate shapes with more of the swirls, given that I was having a bit of a swirl theme going on. I think that this would also look quite effective if you put a small stipple in there.
Also discovered something extraordinarily useful for getting rid of the white chalklines from my pencil...the top of the Machingers gloves, where it is more closely knitted for the wrist. Just using that part and lightly going over the lines, they disappeared with ease. Who would have thought!

Linking up to 2015 FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal. Make sure you have a bit of a look around...there is some fantastic freemotion quilting going on.


Wednesday 19 August 2015

Progress on Pillow

Still working away on my pillow for the August 2015 FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal

This is the 8th pillow for this year...I am determined to keep up with the monthly challenges and so far have not missed a month. This has meant that I have not produced quite as much as I would have liked this year due to having to interrupt what I am doing to get going on the next pillow. However, I  am treating this challenge as an opportunity to learn and I would highly recommend these online challenges to all of those who have an interest in FMQ. Even though I am quite good at FMQ I get so much out of this ...being introduced to new experts, new designs, having to plan around designs, practicing grids, filling in odd spaces, blasted zippers, trying out new threads etc.  I particularly like this challenge, as Darlene from Quiltshopgal is giving different options each month so that there is something for everybody, experienced or just starting out. If you are reading this and just starting out you might want to have a look at this challenge...the link up for the completed pillows is open now until the end of the month.

Anyway, worked away on the front of the pillow, filling in the last panel of my little design.

Now this was not that easy and required some additional planning as I was unfamiliar with Angela Walters flower filler. Started off and had to stop for a while, drawing on paper to try to figure out how to quilt this. I have Angela Walters Craftsy class ' Small Changes, Big Variety'. When watching this I noticed that Angela Walters quilts her feather shapes different to me. I will quilt towards me, starting the feather on the curvature - while I can also go backwards, I always start with the curvature. Angela Walters can do them starting on the other side and going backwards...quite amazing! Now I tried this, but my brain could not cope, so I had to stick to my way of doing the feathers and have a bit of a think about which side I was going to end up on and which side I actually needed to be at. This took a little bit more planning than usual and I drew lots of A4 pages with various variations of the design.

Here is the end result
 Was very happy with this as all this drawing enabled me to actually get a really good hang of the larger feather the end I was able to fill a whole A4 page just with that and it looked fabulous. For this piece though I returned to the flower filler. I think that flower filler looks better when it is done with a blend in thread so you focus on texture. I started off a bit small but the flowers towards the top were spaced a bit nicer...all great learning.

Then I tackled the back. Decided to use my apple core shape (KimBradleydesigns 4.5")...finally using some of the many templates lying around here. When I attended a workshop with Kim Bradley a couple of years ago, this was one of the designs we practiced.
Very versatile as you can use the walking foot to do this...however, I was too lazy to reset my machine and freemotionquilted the lines which went just as quickly, if not quicker.

 Decided to continue with the swirl theme and filled every alternate shape. every shape I was trying to come up with a particular way of doing it and every single one is quilted differently.

This was good I just have to put it altogether and put a zipper in. Very productive day.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social Linky Party to have a look what the rest of the quilting world is up to.


Sunday 16 August 2015

FMQ Away

Working on my pillow for the 2015 FMQ Challenge at QuiltShopGal

Choose black calico to do my FMQ on...I like stitching with light thread on dark fabric. However, I noticed that I am a bit out of practice...some of my stitching is positively wonky, Never mind, it's the effect we are going for.
Had trouble with the swirls, just did not flow properly...but anyway, it did get done and now I only have the right side to do. Planning on some of Angela Walters flower filler, interpersed with some feathery bigger shapes. We shall see.

Until next time


Wednesday 5 August 2015

Total Lack of Self-Control

I am working on my scrap would not believe it but I made another mistake and mis-cut my beige background fabric for my FMQ practice piece. I am beginning to think that that one is jinxed.

So, off I went to the the quilt shop where I had originally bought the fabric. To my surprise the shop is closing down and everything was 20% off...did not find my fabric but this is what I walked out with:
20, 10in squares of gorgeous fabric


Justification: I have had a very challenging day!

Cost: 20% off

Project: To be decided

Time: only have 5 other WIPs in production (and a few others we don't speak about)

Need: yes, absolutely!

I have been seeing a lot of hexagon goodness on Instagram lately, however rather than do one of those tiny hexagon projects I again went for the 2in hexagons. I really enjoyed that size last winter. The fabric above will give me 80 hexagons and the rest I will source from my stash. Should have actually started this at the beginning of sewing room is a tad cold as it has been absolutely freezing here in Australia, so I am a bit limited in how much time I can spent in there in the evening. A hand sewing project at the kitchen table is much more appealing.

Apart from this, I am working on my Thousand Pyramid quilt and also will have to start the monthly pillow for the 2015 FMQ Challenge over at Quiltshopgal...determined to see that through to the end of the year.


Monday 3 August 2015

Scrap Happy

I should be working on my WIP: A Field Guide, however felt like doing something else. So I started this
I had these Robert Kaufman fabric stacks which I cut to size some time back. However, horror upon horror, I actually mis-cut them and made them 1/2in too small for the design that I had in mind at the time. Since then they have been lying around on the to it the other day and designed a slightly different set up that would use them up. I am thinking of putting the beige background behind it and then using it as a FMQ practice quilt. Already have a FMQ design in mind which will also go into the border which will be the same fabric as the dark accent colour. You can't see it properly in here, but the dark accent colour is a gorgeous dark brown Jinny Beyer print...

So, that sorted out, I started a second project...why stop at one, when you can do two at the same time on top of all the WIPs lying around. Finally...a 'Thousand Pyramids' scrap quilt
Went through my scrap boxes the other day which are literally overflowing and went to work on cutting some of them up with the Accuquilt Go Cutter using the 4 1/2in Equilateral Triangle. Bought this die last year and this is the first time I am using it. How crazy!
Cut through the stash in no time and settled down chain-piecing the units...absolutely love doing this. Very relaxing and quick to do. I am not going to stress about size as yet and will see where this takes me. Always wanted to make a scrap version of the Thousand Pyramids quilt...this should be good fun.

Feeling very enthused about it all.

Linking up to

Quilting is more fun than Housework


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